How to Make Bloody Mary's FAQ

Bloody Mary Q & A

Q: What’s the best bloody Mary mix?

How to Make Bloody Mary's FAQ
How to Make Bloody Mary’s FAQ

A: I’m not a big fan of pre-made, bottle bloody Mary mixes.  My general advice is to avoid them entirely. If you absolutely must, Zing Zang makes a popular mix that isn’t horrible.  Demitri’s makes a very good mix that is added to tomato juice and vodka when serving. (MUCH better!)

Q: What vodka should I use?

A: This is a great question. The answer depends on a couple factors. 1. Are you rich? 2. Do you mix your drinks strong?  If you answer yes to either question, spring for a better quality vodka like Kettle One, Belvedere, or Skyy.  If you answered no to both, stick with a cheaper brand like Fleishman’s or Gordon’s.  Unless you mix your bloody Mary strong, the flavor of the vodka gets trumped by all of the other ingredients.  I find UV to be a nice middle of the road solution.

Q: Can I make up a large batch in advance?

A: Sometimes it’s nice to make up your bloody’s in advance of an event.  This is fine.  We have a good recipe for a pitcher of bloody Mary mix here. Be careful if you do. from the moment you blend tomato juice with all of those spices, the flavors begin to break down.  If the mix sits in your refrigerator for more than twelve hours, you will notice a diminution in flavor.   You also lose the ability to customize the drink for individual tastes.

Q: What’s a beer chaser?

A: In the midwest, Wisconsin in particular, it is customary to serve a small glass of cold beer along side of a bloody Mary.  Its purpose is to clear the palate between drinks of the cocktail, and cut the bite of a spicy bloody Mary. Some bars and restaurants charge extra for this.  The good ones do not.

Q: What is the best garnish for my bloody Mary?

A: There is no one or two best bloody Mary garnishes. I’ve seen some pretty outrageous creations. (a nod to the infamous Sarah Jayne Pickart)  As long as you’ve crafted a good quality drink, (don’t garnauflage me!), feel free to get creative. My favorite garnishes are, in no particular order; cucumber spear, pickles, olives, mozzarella cheese, and beef jerky.

Q: Should I shake my bloody Mary?

A: I’ve been criticized by some for advising people to shake their bloody Mary in a Youtube video I published a few years back. See it here: How to make a bloody Mary.  “The tomato is a soft fruit. You never shake it,” was one bartenders response.  Well I understand that too much shaking can make the drink look a little white and foamy, and we don’t want that.  Properly chilling the drink and thoroughly mixing it however, is of utmost importance.  I use a cocktail shaker and shake gently. Pouring back and forth between two glasses works too, but be sure to repeat it a few times.

Q: What is xanthan gum?

A: I have no idea.  Why did you buy that bottled bloody Mary mix? More…

Greg Tooke 


Beer Pairing | Choosing the Right Chaser

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Pairing Beer and Bloody Mary

The bloody Mary is one of the most complex and satisfying of cocktails. It isn’t just the number of ingredients or even the pile of garnishes that often adorn the cocktail. It’s the total experience. From the squeezing of fresh citrus and grinding of peppercorns to the feeling of an ice cold cocktail shaker as it blends the magic, this cocktail engages all of the senses. Moving through the stages should be a rich experience and should always end with a beer chaser. Just as our recipes often call for a particular garnish, likewise the right beer pairing can take your bloody Mary to the next level.

We’ve taken some of our  most popular bloody Mary recipes and added a suggested beer pairing for each. In some cases, the beer serves to clear the palate and relieve a bit of heat. In others, it finishes what the bloody started.


pilsner beer paired with bloody MaryThe Best Bloody Mary RecipeOur most popular bloody Mary is the classic or best bloody Mary recipe.  It’s all about balance.  It’s fresh, but it’s also savory.  It’s spicy, but not too spicy.  It’s no surprise that it’s our most popular blend and the first choice for most of our staff.  It hits all the marks and, as our CEO describes, “it tastes like another.” So how does one follow that act?  Keep it perfect.  Our choice for beer pairing with the best bloody Mary is the best pilsner.  The original pilsner in fact.  Pilsner Urquell has been crafted in Pilsen, Czech Republic since 1842.  They have it down.  Like the perfect bloody Mary, it’s hard to stop at one.



beer pairing



The Caesar: The national cocktail of Canada, the Caesar, or bloody Caesar, features Clamato juice instead of the standard tomato juice. Clamato makes the Caesar a bit thinner but also quite savory. Great at picnics or the campground, the Caesar does well with another Canadian favorite, Molson Canadian. A smooth and uncomplicated ale, Molson picks up nicely where the Caesar leaves off and is light enough to not affect your game of horseshoes.





beer pairing hefewiezen



The Bloody Mary With Horseradish:  A favorite among sports fans in the upper midwest, the horseradish bloody Mary has a fresh yet pungent presence that awakens catacombs of the ears, nose and throat.  It sets the stage perfectly for the German wheat beer, hefeweizen. We’re particularly fond of the New Glarus Brewing Company’s Imperial Weizen.  It’s a bit more bold than the typical hefe and can hold its own against a spicier bloody Mary. Like the horseradish bloody, it has a fresh complexity that isn’t too heavy. Try this beer pairing at your next tailgate party.



pairing India pale ale beer




Spicy Bloody MarySome like it hot.  We like it hot.  Hot was the original reason for the beer chaser that follows a bloody Mary.  Our three-tiered spicy recipe serves up stages and levels of heat, like Dante’s inferno.  No lightweight pilsner is going to stand up against such an assault on the tongue.  Wanna know what can? An India pale ale. The crisp bitterness of a good IPA is like a counter-punch to a right cross.  Lagunitas IPA, from the Lagunitas Brewing Company .  The piney hop aromas of this delicious beer will cut through the heat of our spicy bloody Mary and add a little something on top of it to remember.




brown ale beer pairingThe Bacon Bloody Mary:  A staff favorite! Bacon.  Just say it.  You’ll feel better.  Bacon.  Mmm.  This recipe doesn’t call for too much heat.  It’s a rich and heavy dark bloody Mary.  Light on spice and heavy on savory, the bacon bloody Mary is rich and satisfying.  It could almost replace a meal.  Add the smooth and delicious Downtown Brown Ale from the Pearl Street Brewing Company and let the journey continue.  PSB’s DTB, (yeah, we’re all acronymy now), brings a nutty malt flavor with moderate sweetness. It’s a perfect complement to the salty roasted bacon flavor. Add a nice smoked gouda and a pickle spear to the bloody and this beer pairing has three legs to stand on and is what we like to call, “dinner.”



Let us leave you with this fine image. Cheers!

Wisconsin Beer Chaser

-Greg Tooke My short bio

Dill Cucumber Vodka Bloody Mary – Summertime Favorite

As the heat goes up, cool your cocktail down

The Dill & Cucumber Vodka Bloody Mary

A bloody Mary truly is a versatile drink. Whether it’s 9 am or 9 pm, a nice bloody can really hit the spot. At MBFBM, we’ve created specialty recipes that utilize the freshly grown ingredients available locally. Remember the Autumnal Bliss Bloody Mary recipe?

Last night I stepped onto the back porch for my customary evening bloody. Opting for a spicy habenero chipotle recipe, I was soon sweating like a butcher. Not cool. No, not cool at all. Then I remembered the vodka infusion I’d started a week earlier.


Perfect! With a refrigerator full of summer vegetables from the local farmers market, two items jumped out and said, “summer;” Cucumbers and dill. The smell of dill is a classic summer association. The undeniable cool freshness of cut cucumbers is a perfect pairing and yields a smell like fresh cut grass from the comfort of a hammock.

cucumber dill bloody mary Recipe
fresh dill

To make this cool, fresh, and delicious summertime cucumber vodka bloody Mary recipe, you’ll need to do a little prep work. Easy prep work- don’t worry. You’ll be infusing vodka with cucumber and dill 2 to 5 days in advance of making the drink recipes.

Avoid pesticides and other nasties by selecting organically grown dill and cucumber. It’s a good idea to make up multiple batches. the infused vodka will keep for a very long time, once its been drained and filtered.

The Dill Cucumber Vodka Infusion

What you’ll need:

One quart good quality vodka
One fresh cucumber-washed and cut
One handful of fresh dill plant

Instructions: Place cucumber and dill into a one quart Mason jar. Top with vodka and store in a cool place for 2 to 5 days. Drain and filter any sediment.

Cucumber Dill Bloody Mary Recipe


2 oz infused vodka (see above)
5 oz Clamato Juice
1/8 tsp celery salt
1 TBSP Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp Tabasco sauce
1 TBSP fresh lemon juice
1/8 tsp fresh ground black pepper


Fill a pint glass with ice. Add remaining ingredients. Pour into cocktail shaker and mix vigorously. pour back into glass. Garnish with pickle and fresh cucumber slice. Serve with cold pale ale.

-Greg Tooke 

5 Best Mixed Drinks

An overview of the 5 best mixed drinks on the planet

best mixed drinks
Best Mixed Drinks?

No one can accuse the staff of My Big Fat Bloody Mary of not doing their homework when it comes to cocktail research.  As any scientist worth their salt knows, the larger the pool of data, that is – the larger the sample size. the more reliable conclusions about that data can be.  And so it is in the search for the best mixed drinks on the planet.

Drawing from decades of heavy research into the murky depths of alcoholic drinks, our staff has compiled a list of the 5 best mixed drinks.  As much as we love an ice-cold beer or a full pour of fine bourbon, we’ve limited the list to only those drinks that are composed of two or more ingredients, one of which is alcoholic spirits.

The criteria:  To make our list, a drink must have longevity and a universal appeal. Trendy concoctions with ingredients like energy drinks will have to survive a few more decades before making the cut.  We also looked for drinks that filled a specific need, beyond steadying a trembling hand. A perfect after dinner cocktail may not be one of the best mixed drinks for breakfast and vice versa.

So let’s roll them out – Our picks, based on decades of tireless research.  From the basement bars of our uncles’ bungalow, to the sun-drenched tiki bars of the Caribbean, to the smokey supper club, we bring you the 5 best mixed drinks:

#5 The Gin and Tonic

#5 Best cocktail
Gin and Tonic

Crisp, clean, and refreshing, the gin and tonic is the perfect hot weather drink. On the boat or in the back yard enjoying a game of croquet, break out a pitcher of icy cold G & T and summer is on. Use good gin and mix it 1/3 gin and 2/3 tonic. Don’t forget to squeeze a wedge of fresh lime over the top. It makes the drink. Also, be sure to use plenty of ice. This drink should be as cold as possible. If you plan to make an afternoon of it, ease back on the gin in favor of tonic.

#4 The Rum Runner

Rum Runner Cocktail
Rum Runner

Another warm weather favorite, the rum runner is the best beach drink. Hailing from the sunny Caribbean, Its blend of rums and fruit juices give it a sunny color and a deliciously refreshing taste. There are several variations on this cocktail, but all feature plenty of rum. Be careful, rum can hide from you and haunt you later. Here’s a nice primer for the rum runner recipe

#3 The Margarita

Best Margarita Drinks

A Mexican classic, the Margarita is the most festive of drinks. It’s hard to feel depressed with one of these in front of you. It’s our pick for getting a party off on the right foot. It’s a nice blend of sweet, salt, and sour. It’s like a hat dance on the tongue. Don’t confuse one of those blended fru-fru drinks with a real Margarita.  The drink should be simple and long on good tequila.


#2 The Old Fashioned

Old Fashioned Cocktail
Old Fashioned

King of the supper club. This classic cocktail, traditionally made with whiskey, is full of flavor and booze. Drink like a character from the AMC series Madmen. Drop a sugar cube into a stout glass, splash aromatic bitters on it and mash or, “muddle,” it to coat the glass. Drop a large ice-cube in, splash club soda, then top with bourbon. That’s it. Don’t get talked into muddling cherries and oranges – those can go on top.


#1 The Bloody Mary

bloddy Mary
Bloody Mary

Our readers may have seen this coming but yes, we chose the bloody Mary to top the list of best mixed drinks. Here’s why: It’s the most complex of cocktails in terms of flavor. Its variety of ingredients affords multiple variations to suit individual tastes. The traditional garnishes can double as a meal, and most importantly, it can be enjoyed any time of the day.

Take a little time to learn how to make a bloody Mary. (We know a few good resources)
Have you done your own research? Do you find fault in our methods? Enter your comments below.

-Greg Tooke My short bio

Red Wine Bloody Mary Recipe

Red Wine Bloody Mary

I’ve always been a bloody Mary in the morning and red wine in the afternoon kind of gal. On the weekends, the mornings can magically turn to afternoon while I’m not looking. As a younger lush, I never felt right opening a bottle of Cabernet before 5pm. Now, well into my 40’s, cab’ time has crept up earlier and earlier. Alas wine time and bloody Mary time have eclipsed each other.

red wine bloody mary
The Perfect Eclipse

Enter: The Red Wine Bloody Mary– As many of my readers know, my taste in bloody Mary’s vary from fresh and crisp to bold and savory. Likewise, my wine choices run from the nice fresh Pinot grigio on the patio, to a bold zinfandel in front of the warm glow of my television. (I’m classy like that)
The red wine bloody Mary falls squarely into the bolder, more savory drink category. The twist of fresh lemon juice does give it a nice lip-smacking fresh quality, but from then on it’s a satisfying, full-bodied drink that affords the luxury of drinking wine early in the morning, while maintaining a, “she’s ok. I mean, it’s not like she’s drinking wine in the morning,” appearance. I like to think of that celery stalk as camouflage.

This drink is a great solution to that quarter-of-a-bottle-of-wine-leftover-from-last-night problem too.

So let’s get to it ladies. Whether you’re transitioning from brunch into happy hour, or just got a late start on breakfast, try this red wine bloody Mary recipe and start being colorful and witty long before your unsuspecting friends have opened a bottle.

Gather up the following ingredients;

Good Vodka. Mmm, vodka!
Clamato juice (tomato juice will work, but Clamato is less thick and more savory)
Fresh lemon
Red wine (I’ve used Cabernet and zinfandel)
Fresh cracked black pepper
Tabasco sauce
Celery salt
Worcestershire sauce
Celery stalk

Directions: Fill a large cocktail shaker with ice. Crack black pepper over the ice, then coat it with Worcestershire. (About a tablespoon) Add an ounce of vodka, an ounce of red wine, and a dash of Tabasco. Now top the drink with Clamato and shake. Rim a large glass with celery salt and pour the red wine bloody Mary into it. Oh, how I love the sound that makes!

Squeeze the fresh lemon over the top, give another turn of black pepper, and garnish with a stalk of celery and an olive or three.

Repeat as needed (PRN)



1292 votes

Thanks to Heidi Blackstone for contributing this amazing red wine bloody Mary recipe!
-Greg Tooke My short bio

Best Margarita Mix

In Search of the Best Margarita Mix

Best Margarita Recipe

People who love Margarita’s, (in other words, those who have ever had a good one), will travel miles, read volumes, and torture bartenders to find the best Margarita mix recipe.

It wasn’t until I traveled to Mexico several years ago that I developed a full appreciation for this wonderful cocktail. Spanish for daisy, Margarita can mean many things to different people. My early exposure, (and subsequent disinterest in the drink), was of a blended, overly sweet froo-froo drink at a chain restaurant. Not the best margarita recipe! It was a far cry from the potent tequila delivery system served in the Mexican border town I visited years later.

What I learned there was an important lesson in margarita mix creation: It’s all about the tequila! Bad tequila = bad Margarita!best margarita mix Maybe it’s just psychological, but I have always associated tequila with good times. Nothing starts the night off better for me than a nice blanco! So let’s get to the ingredients in the best margarita recipe;

Kosher Salt (for rimming the glass)
1 1/2 ounces good quality tequila (blanco is best)
1 ounce freshly squeezed lime juice
1/2 ounce Cointreau

*optional- TBSP agave nectar for added sweetness

Use the best quality tequila you can afford and NEVER use anything but fresh lime!

Now that you have the best ingredients for your cocktail, pick out a nice glass. Presentation matters. I like a nice wide rim with plenty of surface area to hold salt. The traditional margarita glass is tapered from top to bottom with a stem to help preserve its chill.

First fill the glass with ice water to chill it while mixing. Fill a cocktail shaker with ice, add all ingredients except salt. Shake vigorously. Empty the glass of ice water, rub lime around the rim, and plunge rim of glass into the kosher salt. Now strain the the drink into the chilled and rimmed glass. Done! The perfect Margarita!

Be careful! These things are delicious and surprisingly potent. Rookies often get in trouble by over-indulging.

To fully appreciate the best margarita recipe, put on some nice Mariachi music while preparing and drinking.

If you don’t want to make your own Margarita from scratch, we highly recommend Demitri’s all natural mix.  We reviewed both regular ans sugar-free recipes. We preferred the classic, but both were absolutely delicious.

Demitris Margarita
Demirtri’s Margarita Mix- Special offer!


Bloody Mary Bar

Bloody Mary Bars

What Makes a Great Bloody Mary Bar?

bloody Mary bar
bloody Mary bar

Bloody Mary bars are a fun and practical way to deliver high quality, personalized bloody Mary cocktails to large numbers of people. If set up correctly, guests can take pride and ownership of their bloody. You’ll seldom get complaints and people will talk about the awesome cocktail they created at your bloody Mary bar.

As I’ve stated in various bloody Mary recipes, there are two very important factors affecting the quality of this drink: Freshness and temperature. Keep the bloody Mary ingredients as chilled as possible. Filling a salad bar or large tub or cooler with crushed ice is a good start.

Keeping the individual ingredients properly chilled will ensure that they retain their flavor and taste their best. It will also allow you to keep the unused portions longer. It’s also important to keep ingredients separate to the greatest extent possible. While it is handy to prepare the best bloody Mary mix in advance, remember: as soon as tomato juice is mixed with other ingredients, the acids in it begin to break them down. The other advantage to keeping the ingredients separated is that unused portions can easily be put back into cold storage for use in your next bloody Mary bar.

It’s best to give your guest an ice filled glass with vodka poured from the bar and let them run from there. Rim salt is also a nice touch. Demitri’s makes a phenomenal bacon rim salt. There is real excitement as he or she carries that vessel of potential to your bloody Mary bar.

So what ingredients should a good bloody Mary bar be stocked with? Let’s start from left to right, and let’s arrange the ingredients of the bloody Mary bar this way too. It will allow for a smooth flow of traffic. On a side note, try to place the bloody Mary bar in a fairly open, accessible area. There’s nothing more frustrating than waiting in a line behind some tight little alcove while Aunt Verna considers the pro’s and cons of garlic stuffed olives.

Start with good quality tomato juice and V-8 juice. If you must, offer your famous Uncle Freddie’s secret xxx bloody mix. Label each clearly. Moving right, and still in the chilled portion of the serving area, place as many hot sauces as possible. At a minimum, offer regular and green chili Tabasco, siracha, and one other. In the same area place the Worcestershire. (A must!) As you move further right, get a little creative: pickle juice? fresh horseradish? Place two bowls of cut citrus: one lemon, the other lime.

Now the fun part. This is what people remember, talk about, take pictures of, and post to social media. The garnish! Cover the basics. -of course. Pickles, celery, olives, cheese cubes all should be present. Don’t stop there. Make your bloody Mary bar something to talk about. Consider adding items like pickled onions, okra, cherry peppers, peperoncini, garlic stuffed olives.  Bacon is very hot right now. Other meats like beef jerky, pepperoni, and summer sausage are great too. Because they’re salted, they hold up well too. Be sure to provide skewers large enough to accommodate a good sampling of these bloody Mary bar garnishes.

Finally, at the far right, and out of the ice, stock a black pepper grinder, ground cayenne pepper, and fresh ground celery salt. (Another must!) When it’s all set up, call me. It sounds great!

Cheers! -Greg Tooke My short bio

***Have you been to a really good bloody Mary bar?  Tell the world about it.  Think you have a good one?  Here’s your chance to brag! Enter comments below.  Thanks!

Guide to Awful Cocktails

Ever wonder why that bloody Mary drink sucks so bad? The research division of My Big Fat Bloody Mary LLC Has taken the mystery out of this age old question. As it turns out, crappy bloody Mary’s do not occur as a random event.

Bloody Mary Drink
Man With Awful Bloody Mary

You might assume that awful bloody Mary cocktails are the product of a careless bartender, but research shows that much more goes into these abominations. Based on these findings, We have assembled a list and info-graphic of the top causes of awful Bloody Mary drinks. Get out your notepad, a pen, and a willingness join a growing movement!

How to Make an Awful Bloody Mary Drink

We interviewed some of the nations worst purveyors of bloody Mary’s to get an inside look into what makes these drinks so awful. Glen Fraunkrum of the infamous Quick~n~Sweaty Pub and Eatery in Omaha’s trendy south side shared some of his secrets.

Quick~n~Sweaty Pub & Eatery

“We use a mix but I like to jazz mine up with pickle juice and some of the other stuff from under the bar.” Glen has been crafting his dreadful morning cocktails for over 4 months. “Folks like to order my bloody’s cuz they never know what I’m gonna do!” With a wink and a toothless grin, Glen produces a bottle of A-1 steak sauce.”No two are alike and I think people like that. One always does the trick. They never seem to need a second one.”

Glen takes pride in the fact that he has saved the bar over ten dollars since starting at the Quick~n~Sweaty. “The last guy was fillin’ them glasses plum full of ice! I says, it’s like toilet paper sheets: ya only need one or two!” Glen sprinkles salt over a lone bobbing ice cube, sticks a toothpick sized straw in the drink, and lays a wilting pickle across the top.

It turns out Glen is not alone in his insistence upon turning out tepid vessels of varying putridity. Researchers found that his technique follows a pattern seen in most of the top producers of God awful bloody Mary drink concoctions.  Mary Ledbottom of Anchorage’s Spotted Dick Saloon summed it up succinctly: “We get kinda busy in here. Bloody Mary’s take a long time to make. I work nights as a security guard and I don’t really need that. I try to push the Bud Light. it’s on tap!”

The writing staff at MBFBM reviewed the findings of the crappy bloody Mary project and compiled a list.

The Ten Best Ways to make a dreadful Bloody Mary.

#10. Start with a mix but don’t stop there.  Add more crap, the more salt the better- a practice we call, “shit-piling.”

#9. Make a batch up in advance and let that jug sit for days.

#8. Don’t be predictable.  Consistency is THE TOP reason that bars get too much business!

#7. Serve it warm. Throw an ice cube or two, but go easy.  If God intended us to drink cold beverages, he’d have made breast milk cold, right?

#6. Use the skinniest damned straw you can find.  There’s nothing more fun than watching someone suck their face into a glass, trying get that awful drink to their mouth.

#5. Add salt.  I don’t know, other people do it!

#4. Never use fresh citrus.  It makes people smack their lips and order more.  You don’t want that!

#3. Don’t add an item of garnish unless it’s wilted and unimaginative.  This sounds obvious but you’d be surprised by how many people use garnish as a way to get people to talk about their bloody’s, take pictures of them, and bring their friends to get more.  Bull-Shit Man!

#2. Never, ever serve your bloody with an icy cold beer.  If someone asks for a chaser, look at them as if they’re speaking french.  If they continue, and ask for a beer, snap at them, ” I thought you wanted a bloody Mary!”

#1. Start with a mix and shit-pile that thing like a MOTHER!

-Greg Tooke My short bio

Bloody Mary
Bloody Mary